In Your Words

'The house is small, but the heart is big'

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“The house is small, but the heart is big.”  


I heard that expression on the recent Work & Witness trip to Valparaiso, Chile. The gentleman who said it was describing a mutual friend’s house where we had gathered to share a meal. It is true that by U.S. standards my friend’s house would probably be called small, but to me it was absolutely perfect. Each room had a gentle beauty and serenity. Plus the space was efficiently utilized. The house reflected the personality of my friends who lived there.
I realized how true the expression was as all nine of us assembled around the table to toast Salud (health) and partake of a delicious meal together. We had to bring in chairs from the living room, small stools and even a barrel from outside, but we all fit comfortably with plenty of room around the table. As we ate, laughed and enjoyed time together. I looked at each person around that table. I saw beloved friends that I had made on the previous trip to Valparaiso and new friends from this trip, as well as treasured friends from the Work & Witness team. I was truly and wonderfully blessed as even the language barrier couldn’t stop the bonds of friendship and love. The size of the house was irrelevant. We had plenty of room. The heart in that place was so immense that I can still feel its embrace here days later and miles away.
My friend’s house wasn’t the only place where my opening phrase held true. “The house is small, but the heart is big” was also evident in La Iglesia del Nazareno in Vina del Mar where combined worship services were held with the Valparaiso church.  This church has been the work project site for two prior Work & Witness trips and now has a more spacious church and parsonage than before.  
Regardless of how large a church building they may eventually construct I am convinced it still couldn’t encompass their huge heart for God. As we entered we were greeted with a hug and a cheek kiss and warm wishes of bendiciones or blessings filled the room with brotherly love. As the service began, their love for Christ shone brightly on their faces as they offered worship to their Lord and Savior, seeking only to be in His presence. Hands and voices were raised.   Clapping and amens were heard. Tears of joy fell. No one looked at their watches as one more chorus was sung.
After a heartfelt sermon that encouraged us to seek the light of God we stood; team members were encouraged to pair up with a Chilean to sing How Great is Our God.  We hugged and prayed, Spanish and English intertwined, and God poured even more of His love into our hearts.  
Though we had to leave that sacred place, the love of God and of fellow Christians went with each of us. I believe my heart grew that day, allowing me to carry a double portion of God’s love to give to all I meet in life.
 “… God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit… “- Romans 5:1-11 
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